Katedral

55x41cm

Luraasstogaovnen

55x41cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Portrett (Sykehustegn)

29x20,5cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Terje Bergstad (f.1938) is an important yet little known Norwegian artist who works in an offshoot of Northern European Expressionism. He has himself expressed great admiration for artists such as Munch, Nolde, Carl Fredrik Hill, van Gogh, Kirchner, Jens Søndergaard and Georges Rouault.

Bergstad has periodically been afflicted with illness, which has prevented him from working for long periods of time, yet he has managed to create a relatively large production of works. For Bergstad the path between life and art is short; his own experiences and often agonizing episodes are processed and given expression through his art. He empathises with the tragedies and sufferings of other others and identifies with society’s disenfranchised. In many of his pictures he treats the themes of violence, torture, injustice and oppression, and among his greatest preoccupations are the atrocities that occurred in Nazi concentrations camps and the rasist apartheid regime in South Africa.

Portrait (Hospital Sign)is part of a series of drawings in which Bergstad has depicted patients and ordinary people he has met on his journeys in and out of institutions and hospitals. Although the format is modest and the artistic means extremely economical, these unusually sensitive and poetic drawings are exceptionally expressive.

OWG

Luraasstogaovnen

55x41cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Storby-menneske

70x49cm

Katedral

55x41cm

Katedral

56x41,5cm

Luraasstogaovnen

41,5x29cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Portrett (Sykehustegn)

29x20,5cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Portrait

39,5x29,5cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Katedral

55,5x41,5cm

Katedral

55x41cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Katedral

55x41cm

Den gamle ovn

46,5x39cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Luraasstogaovnen

47x35,5cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Portrett (Sykehustegn)

29x20,5cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Portrait

32x22,7cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Ansikti i broen

70x49cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Portrett av en musiker

51,5x45,5cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Self portrait

41,5x29cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Terje Bergstad (1938-2014) is often described as “an artists’ artist”; he is highly regarded among an informed circle, but is not very well known to a broader public.

Bergstad’s oeuvre is characterised by an obstinate consistency, which evades fleeting contemporary trends. He has steadfastly held onto an expressionistic, explicitly symbolic mode of expression and has a particular kinship with Edvard Munch and the German expressionists of the artist group Die Brücke. This is clearly expressed in this powerful “Self-portrait”, where the means are few, but effective: smouldering red against black and bold, rough traces of paint and oil pastel.

Terje Bergstad is amply represented in a number of public and private Norwegian art collections and large-scale retrospective exhibitions were devoted to him at the Norwegian Museum of Contemporary Art in Oslo in 2000 and at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in 2011.

OWG

Mountain Landscape

Oil on canvas, 112,5x251cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

En gammel sjømann

Crayon, 57x43cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

En dikter

Crayon and gouache, 49x39cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Mannsportrett

Crayon and gouache, 48,5x39cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Fange. Den ensomme

Crayon and gouache, 1979, 56,7x45,7cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Min far

Crayon, 1984, 70x48,5cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Onkel R.O.

Crayon and gouache, 1984, 70x48,9cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Portrett (Sykehustegn)

Drawing, 29x20,5cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Portrett (Sykehustegn)

Drawing, 29x20,5cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Mor og barn

Drawing, 31,5x23,5cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Portrett (Sykehustegn)

Drawing, 20,5x29cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Portrett (Sykehustegn)

Drawing, 29x20,5cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

The artistic means employed in Portrait (Hospital Sign) are simple—a few hurried lines in pencil.  Nevertheless the picture has an immediate and powerful expressive force. The face is sensitively depicted; we can sense the feeling of resignation and profound despair.

Terje Bergstad (1938-2014) was tormented by mental illness for long periods and while he was in and out of hospitals himself, he drew some of the people that he met there. Bergstad is an artist whose work was so closely tied to his life that the boundaries dividing them are often unclear. He uses his own life and identifies with those who are struggling, those who have fallen by the wayside.

View more works by Terje Bergstad.

By Oda Wildhagen Gjessing

Luraasstogaovnen

Gouache, 41x29cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Luraasstogaovnen

Gouache, 55x41cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Luraasstogaovnen

Wood cut, 49x39cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Katedral

Gouache, 55,5x41,5cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Katedral

Gouache, 55,5x41,5cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Katedral

Gouache, 55x41cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Katedral

Gouache, 55x41cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Katedral

Gouache, 55,5x41,5cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Terje Bergstad (f.1938) is often described as being “an artist’s artist”; he is highly valued and esteemed by many of his colleagues, but is still little known by the broader public. This is partly due to the fact that throughout his career he has participated in very few exhibitions and been practically absent in the Norwegian art scene. Bergstad is an artist with an exceptionally close relationship between his life and work. He has had a difficult life in periods and been extremely afflicted by illness – so that periods of creativity have necessarily been replaced by long, unproductive expanses of time during which it was virtually impossible for him to work.

Bergstad began studying at the National College of Art and Design during the early 60s and at the National Academy of Art in 1965, where he studied under Reidar Aulie, among others. His teacher would come to have a great significance for him; like Aulie, Bergstad has evinced a strong social commitment in his art and he has been highly preoccupied with bringing attention to individuals who have been struck by injustice and tyranny. Whether this has been expressed in his drastic portrayals of the massacres in Soweto in 1976, where the students rebelled against the apartheid regime, or in subtle yet touching and poetic drawings of everyday people he has met throughout a long life on his way in and out of various institutions, hospitals, etc.

There are other groups of motifs and thematic cycles that have been meaningful for Bergstad, which he has returned to again and again. Without having confessed to any particular faith he has often made use of objects and symbols that have a traditional religious character; urns, candelabra, the crucifix, stained-glass windows, cathedral facades, etc. Like many other Norwegian artists before him, Bergstad has also felt a strong attraction to Telemark. His pictures from this rural county are the opposite of the sunny and vitalistic Telemark landscape as it has often been depicted in Norwegian art; here the sun and summer motifs have had to make way for the twilight hour and an often dramatic undertone of anxiety and tragedy. It is natural to see Bergstad’s Telemark pictures in connection with Harald Kihle’s and Henrik Sørensen’s gloomy and expressive depictions of the region.

The DNB Savings Bank Foundation has acquired 40 works by Terje Bergstad. Many of these pictures can be viewed at the retrospective exhibition devoted to Terje Bergstad at Henie Onstad  Art Centre between February 3rd and May 1st.

OWG

Katedral

Gouache, 55,5x41cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum